Interview: The Rifles
Published on September 22nd, 2011 | Jonny Abrams
London indie-rockers The Rifles are back with a lush ‘n’ luxurious new album, the Chris Potter-produced Freedom Run, so Rocksucker caught up with co-singer/songwriter Joel Stoker, who was kind enough to oblige despite the fact that I called so inopportunely midway through their rehearsal for last night’s acoustic gig at Pretty Green in Covent Garden.
(Sorry, Joel!) First, check out the video for The Rifles’ latest single “Tangled Up in Love”, which was released this week and just so happens to be the very definition of ‘sparkling’…
Congratulations on a splendid new album. It has more of a lush, ‘classic’ sort of sound to it than its predecessors…
Yeah, it’s definitely not as ‘regional’, if you like, as the first album, which was more ‘punk’. That was more aggressive than the new album, definitely.
Did you make a conscious decision to go in that direction or did it just turn out that way?
It just turned out that way. We’ve obviously grown up a lot since the first album. I think family life changes you and I have a little baby girl now. Things like that will soften you up, won’t they? We didn’t have a plan for how the album was going to sound, we kind of just sat at home and wrote a load of songs. We didn’t hear them all together until we recorded them.
There’s quite a Style Council vibe to “Tangled Up in Love”. Is Paul Weller a big influence for you? I know you’ve worked with him in the past…
I suppose “Shout to the Top” is where you’re getting that one from. With “Tangled Up in Love”, I could always hear the riff vicariously on strings, for some reason. I just always thought it would sound better on a violin than a guitar. Loads of bands influence me.
What inspired “Little Boy Blue (Human Needs)”? It’s quite different to your usual sound.
That’s all Luc’s doing. He’s quite experimental.
How have Lee and Kenny settled into the band?
It was a bit odd for the first couple of rehearsals because they played slightly differently but, after that, we didn’t even think about it, really. We knew them before they actually joined so it wasn’t like a brand new person coming into our life or our band.
What was it like working with Chris Potter?
Brilliant. I like the way Chris works. We worked with him a little bit before we recorded with him so, when we were asked what producers we’d like to work with, he was one name that was thrown in because we knew what he was about. It worked out well.
How much truth was there to that story a few years ago that you had to cut short a tour of Italy because a Mafioso character thought Grant was flirting with his wife?
It was the promoter of our last gig out there, who was a bit of a nutter. I think he thought Grant was trying to put it on his wife so he went absolutely mental at everyone. We were waiting for him to come back in with a gun, know what I mean?! He was a paranoid man and I think he had a connection.
Finally, if I asked you right now to name your top three albums of all time, off the top of your head, which would you pick?
You could stick a pin in The Beatles’ back catalogue! I’ve always thought Magical Mystery Tour is a great album. One album that never gets old for me is Bring It On by Gomez, their debut album. The Dark Side of the Moon is another great one; it always changes, you know.
Joel, thank you.
New album Freedom Run is available now: therifles.net